With annual spend of over $6 billion through more than 42,000 separate transactions, software represents a significant IT investment for the Federal Government. Detailed findings published in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that the vast majority of these purchases are decentralized, and that federal agencies lack the tools to manage these assets.
As a result, 2016 has been a busy year for federal Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Category Managers, and Software Asset Managers tasked with addressing federal mandates. I’m proud to say that my team has been working hard to help ease this process for agencies.
Getting a Handle on Software
On June 2, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Category Management Policy 16-1 requiring each federal agency to employ a centralized software license management strategy and provide skilled personnel to maintain it. In addition, agencies must now collect software inventories and analyze/report cost savings attributable to their newly deployed strategies.
Piggybacking on the framework established by OMB’s memo, President Obama signed the Making Electronic Government Accountable by Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act into Public Law this July. MEGABYTE sets forth an official directive requiring Executive Agency CIOs to comply with the terms of the OMB memo.
GSA Is Your Resource
The MEGABYTE Act empowers agency CIOs to manage their IT infrastructure and perform Software Category Management. The successful outcome of both activities is substantial savings and cost avoidance, which can be re-invested in IT modernization efforts.
With this goal in mind, the Enterprise Software Category Team (ESCT)—consisting of GSA’s IT Software Category, OMB, and Department of Defense-Enterprise Software Initiative (DOD-ESI)—is providing assistance to agency software license managers on where to start.
The IT Software Category currently leverages experts (from industry and government) in Enterprise Software Licensing, software asset management, strategic sourcing, and category management to assist our agencies in developing and implementing MEGABYTE. We do this by hosting weekly information sharing and collaboration sessions where software license managers from the 24 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Council agencies meet to discuss their progress in:
- tracking and capturing savings;
- software centralization efforts;
- strategic vendor management; and
- collecting accurate software inventory data.
Since early September 2016, the ESCT has hosted nine working sessions with representatives from 28 separate agencies (including the CFO Council agencies, and four sub-agencies). Outcomes of these working sessions have yielded tools and templates for vendor management planning, software centralization, cost savings analysis, and software asset management automated tool set functionality.
As the weekly working sessions wind down, GSA will continue to collaborate with the federal software community. Our goal is to successfully position agencies in their quest for effective software license management through:
- A Community of Practice Portal accessible by registered federal software license managers to share success stories and lessons learned;
- A Software Asset Management Website providing updates on federal progress, industry resources, policy guidance, and technology advancements; and
- Periodic Webinars related to steady-state software license management best practices
GSA continues its development of the Software License Management as a Service program, which will enable agencies to acquire the tools and services they need for effective software license management.
Currently, the program is piloting the service with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, GSA IT and the Office of Personnel Management. Each pilot is focused on different aspects of License Management to include governance and procedure development, SAM toolset integration and current-state ITAM gap analysis.